Swanston Street, Melbourne
Swanston Street was one of the main north–south streets originally laid out in the 1837 Hoddle Grid
. Originally carrying pedestrians and horse-drawn cart traffic, the street resembled many typical European avenues of the 19th century. By the end of the 19th century it was carrying one of the major tram lines through the city. With the advent of the automobile in the early 20th century, the street became a major thoroughfare, carrying automobile traffic between areas north of the city and St Kilda Road
throughout most of the 20th century.
The southern half of the street historically had problems with heavy traffic and carbon monoxide
, and a plethora of discount stores, fast food outlets, sex shops and strip joints, throughout the later half of the 20th century.
In March 1992 the street was closed to daytime private through-traffic between Flinders
and La Trobe Streets
, roughly half its length.
This section is known as Swanston Street Walk
. Swanston Street was redeveloped in 1992 with a number of public sculptures being established through the Percent for Art Program. The most famous of these statues is of a small bronze dog called Larry La Trobe
by Melbourne artist, Pamela Irving
. By the turn of the 21st century, the street carried nine tram routes
, with the frequency of trams being the highest in Melbourne.
In November 2008, newly elected Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle
proposed to return private vehicle traffic to the street.
The move attracted opposition from the Public Transport Users Association
, Australian Greens
and Bicycle Victoria
. This proposal was rejected and by January 2010, plans to make the entire length of Swanston Street in the city car-free were announced by the Lord Mayor himself, representing a complete reversal on the issue.
Use for marches, rallies and protests
Many marches, rallies and protests involve the use of Swanston Street, resulting in planned and unexpected road closures. It is used for many annual events, including the Moomba
parade, and the Anzac Day
parade, which passes through much of the city centre, but uses Swanston Street as a centrepiece on its way to the Shrine of Remembrance
in St Kilda Road, as well as the AFL Grand Final
parade, Melbourne Cup
parade and others.
Swanston Street was one of the busiest roads in Melbourne, carrying large private automobile volumes, before being converted to a restricted traffic strip in 1992. The street was made partially car-free, with limited exemptions for small freight, buses and private automobiles during certain times of the day. Since the 1990s, proposals for the street to become entirely car-free have continuously gained support and momentum.
On 27 January 2010, it was announced that the entire length of Swanston Street would become car-free.
The $25.6 million proposal included plans for several city squares along the street and several large tram stops. Aside from trams, the only motorised vehicular access is for small-scale freight at certain times, and emergency vehicles. The construction program commenced in late 2011 and was completed in late 2012.
Many of Melbourne's most noteworthy precincts and prominent buildings face Swanston Street as the city's historic main avenue, including:
Tram routes 1
currently run along the street, with the frequency of trams making Swanston Street the world's busiest tram corridor.
Two of the busiest railway stations in Melbourne are located near the street, with the suburban railway network
hub Flinders Street station
at its southern end and, further north, the underground Melbourne Central station
at the intersection of La Trobe Street. The Metro Tunnel
is being constructed under Swanston Street, and should be completed in 2025.
Swanston Street is also a major route for commuting cyclists to and through the city, with bike lanes from the northern suburbs and from St Kilda Road in the south, and the Capital City Trail
on the Southbank
of the Yarra River
The parking of tour buses along the street caused controversy in September 2008 when a young cyclist was killed by a bus as it turned out of a parking spot.
There had previously been calls to the council to relocate the large buses from the street where there was little space between buses and trams.
In popular culture
Jane Halifax (Rebecca Gibney
) of the Halifax f.p.
television series is shown living in an apartment at 339 Swanston Street (Jensen House;
now converted into a UniLodge
) opposite the State Library.
Henry Burn, Swanston Street from Princes Bridge, 1861
Swanston Street ca. 1873 Charles Nettleton State Library Victoria H88.21/9
Swanston Street, looking north from Princes Bridge, 1959
Swanston Street near RMIT
Archway to Melbourne Chinatown on Swanston Street
A street stall on Swanston Street
- ^ a b Carey, Adam (30 May 2015). "Melbourne to be split in two as Swanston Street is torn up". The Age. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
- ^ "GENERAL NEWS". The Age. 3 March 1925. p. 10. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
- ^ "Melbourne Trams Services" Trolley Wire issue 249 May 1992 page 25
- ^ Lucas, Clay (2 December 2008). "New mayor driving down a wrong-way street". The Age. Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
- ^ a b Dowling, Jason (27 January 2010). "No cars, new city squares: Doyle's Swanston Street reversal". The Age. Retrieved 6 August 2010.
- ^ Private Buses to Stay in Swanston Street Truck & Bus Transportation January 1953 page 5
- ^ Swanston St Buses to Stay: Licences Increased to 7 yrs Truck & Bus Transportation June 1956 page 59
- ^ Licence renewal Truck & Bus Transportation July 1970 page 34
- ^ Buses out of Swanston Street Fleetline issue 174 January 1990 page 12
- ^ "Barlow Jensen House - Swanston Street. MELBOURNE [Walking Melbourne Building Information]". walkingmelbourne.com. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
Last edited on 28 February 2021, at 14:29
Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0
unless otherwise noted.